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Tim Fouracre (left) introduces his new online banking service, CountingUp
CountingUp launch_2018
CountingUp launch event, 29 March 2018

Sage buys into £9.1m Countingup funding round

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Countingup is planning a new development and growth spurt after securing £9.1m in series A funding.

19th Mar 2021
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In the fintech sector’s rollercoaster ride this spring, Tim Fouracre’s digital bank-accounting hybrid fintech Countingup is on the up after banking a hefty chunk of cash from existing investors plus two new backers, Gresham House Ventures and Sage.

Lead investor Framework Venture Partners co-ordinated the financing round, which will be used to underwrite product development, recruitment and marketing efforts, according to Fouracre, Countingup’s CEO and founder.

Since launching in 2018, Countingup has been building up its capabilities to realise Fouracre’s ambition to be “the ultimate financial tool for the self-employed”, while also catering for their accountants and tax advisers.

Having raised more than £14m from investors to this point, the digital bank’s customer base has reached 34,000, delivering bookkeeping and expense categorisation within their online accounts, which advisers can access from their Accountant Hub client dashboard.

Sector poised for change

With off-payroll IR35 rules looming for private sector contractors on 1 April, and Making Tax Digital for income tax on the horizon in April 2023, the self-employed sector is poised for a period of rapid change – including how it calculates and reports income and expenses.

“This funding round is helping fuel our product roadmap, including the launch of our digital tax filing service, which aims to be a huge help to small businesses as new Making Tax Digital regulations come into effect from April 2022,” Fouracre said.

The Countingup MTD for VAT filing mechanism was currently in beta test and would go into full production shortly, he confirmed. 

Sage gets into digital banking

The involvement of Sage in Countingup’s latest funding round certainly raises some eyebrows. The UK’s listed business software house hasn’t always been associated with cutting-edge tech developments, though it used to own Sage Pay.

That unit was sold off to Eleavon for £232m in 2019 and its US payments subsidiary the year before.

At the time, Sage CEO Steve Hare said payments and banking would “remain an integral part of Sage’s value proposition” and be delivered through partnerships instead. How the plucky digital-accounting startup bank and the listed software giant are going to interact will be a subject of potential interest over the next two years, but Fouracre took it as a vote of confidence to have Sage and ING Bank among Countingup’s investors.

For Sage, executive vice president for the small business segment Neal Watkins commented: “This is an exciting opportunity to be part of the start-up journey in a new way as businesses explore the benefits of bringing accounting and financial services together.”

Replies (1)

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Richard Sergeant
By Richard Sergeant
22nd Mar 2021 15:20

Thanks John, as a very small amendment, "the plucky digital-accounting startup bank" - I don't think CountingUp is a bank and shouldn't be confused for being one in strictest terms.

I know, me, getting pedantic?

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